Friday, October 9, 2009


Caroline Moore is the 15 year old amateur astronomer who, at age 14, became the youngest person ever to discover a supernova. And not just any supernova. Astronomers believe her star, 2008ha, represents a new category which lies somewhere between a nova and a supernova. If so, this may lead to some interesting new theories about this kind of object. You can read all about it here.

I happened to catch a short interview with Caroline on the Rachael Maddow Show last night. For a 15 year old, this little girl is amazingly smart, energetic and poised. She is exactly the kind of person we need to singling out for our young people in school to follow.

If you go to any of the links in this short post, the one I would want most for you to visit is this one, which features Barak Obama in company with Caroline and another bright young astronomer, Lucas Bolyard, at an event held at the White House in recognition of their work.

I get so discouraged sometimes at the incivility and unreasoning paranoia being directed at our President these days. Watching this video, its hard to imagine he's the same man being called everything from a covert, Muslim terrorist to a reincarnation of Hitler, not to mention an outright liar in the halls of Congress.

Now its fair to argue against the President's ideas. But these incessant - and loathsome - character assassinations are more an indictment of the people who are ignorant and churlish enough to not only believe them, but to repeat them over and over in public - as if repeating a lie somehow makes it true.

I'll admit, I didn't much care for most of the policies and decisions of George W. Bush. But even in my wildest rants against those policies, I never considered him to be anything less than a man who was trying to do what he felt was right for this country.

It strikes me now that some of these noxious allegations against the President are exposing one of the most repugnant sides of human nature. At our worst, we want to believe that anyone who disagrees with us is just plain evil. And this isn't because some people are nasty or selfish, but because they suffer from the more common affliction of being intellectually lazy. Why bother to take the challenging and difficult course of actually educating yourself on the facts, when all you have to do is believe Obama hates white people, or wants to kill old people, or wants to be the next Hitler, or is... well, a liar?


1 comment:

  1. Sadly, while *you* may not have attacked Bush with the same vigors, countless others did. My point is that this exact same thing happened during the Bush presidency: there were attacks galore if one bothers to look. Most of the attacks then were personal. Some raised real issues, many did not. Good Heavens, man, some pundits are *still* attacking Bush, and he's not President any more! (Old habits die hard.)

    Disagreements with substance (political decisions and policy) were/are frequently cast aside by lumping *ANY* challenger with those 'on the fringe' who predominately make personal attacks. Even raising legitimate questions tend to devolve into personal attacks.

    The attacks on Bush were incessant and loathsome, too. I won't argue over who had more attacks against them or which set of attacks were 'worse'.

    It has become the norm that *all* political discussions rely too heavily on Character Assassination as their primary weapon. The focus of the attack (or the response to an attack) is to question the MOTIVATIONS of the speaker (not specifically what was said). Responses *rarely* include an honest, critical analysis of the issue raised. One might say that the two sides expend all their energy attempting to use the tar brush to paint the other side as "Evil" and therefore unworthy of consideration (which means we can ignore dealing with any legitimate and uncomfortable points that were brought up).

    Many of the current attacks against President Obama are personal. Some raise real issues, many do not. It happens on both sides. Doesn't make it right. Doesn't mean it is justified. And it certainly doesn't mean that because a different man is sitting the White House that this time is any different: just S-S-D-D (Same S#@%, Different Day).